NRL said Tuesday that its autonomous research lab is working with the Navy Center for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence and university researchers to develop humanoid robots with the goal of suppressing shipboard fires.
Virginia Tech will develop the robotic platform and fire-hardened materials; UPenn will make the perception and navigation autonomy algorithms; and NCARAI will build the human-robot interaction technology and computational cognitive models.
The research consortium gathered at the LASR facility to demonstrate progress and test concepts on the development of the Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot.
“SAFFiR is being designed to move autonomously throughout a ship to learn ship layout, interact with people, patrol for structural anomalies, and handle many of the dangerous firefighting tasks that are normally performed by humans,” said Thomas McKenna, managing program officer for computational neuroscience and biorobotics at the Office of Naval Research, which is funding the project.
Shipboard trials aboard the Navy’s fire test ship are scheduled for later this year.